Bacterial Fingerprint

The “bacterial communities” that live on human skin are now thought to form colonies on inanimate objects regularly touched by human hands, such as your computer keyboard.

The "bacterial communities" that live on human skin are now thought to form colonies on inanimate objects regularly touched by human hands, such as your computer keyboard. These bacterial fingerprints have been discovered by microbiologists Rob Knight and Noah Ferrier of the University of Colorado, Boulder after researchers swabbed three different keyboards and nine mice for bacteria. They then compared the genomic variations between the different communities and thereby identified whose hands had been touching what. "The results demonstrate that bacterial DNA can be recovered from relatively small surfaces, that the composition of the keyboard-associated communities are distinct across the three keyboards, and that individuals leave unique bacterial ‘fingerprints’ on their keyboards," wrote Knight and his colleagues at the University of Colorado, Boulder in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This is just the latest discovery in a new branch of research called microbiome science which looks at the complexity of bacteria living in a variety of different human ecosystems such as the gut, saliva and skin.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less